Monday, February 4, 2008

The miracle of Jodo Shinshu



“Hokyo-bo said to Rennyo Shonin[1], ‘The Myogo (six character NA MO A MI DA BUTSU) you have painted has been destroyed by fire but it has become six Buddhas. How extraordinary!’
The Shonin remarked, ‘It is nothing extraordinary. Since the Buddha (that the Name represents) has become a Buddha, it is nothing extraordinary. What is extraordinary is that an evil bombu[2] becomes a Buddha through a single thought of entrusting to Amida[3]’.”[4]

If you hear that a Buddha or a saint performed miracles, you might become happy and want to see that miracle for yourself, but you will always feel it is quite natural for such superior beings to perform miracles.

However, to hear that you, an ordinary person with strong attachments and blind passions, some of them known only to yourself and kept hidden with shame in the depths of your heart where no one can see them....you the reader of these lines and internet addict who like to read a lot about Buddhism, Nirvana, Buddha-nature, ultimate reality, and virtuous Masters of the past, but always finding yourself incapable to be like them….. imagine that YOU will become a Buddha!

Say you are sitting in front of your computer for many hours, surfing the internet, reading a lot of good teachings and wise Buddhist quotes, but never really being able to put them into practice for even 24 hours a day. From time to time, you practice a little bit of this, a little bit of that, some zazen[5], some vipassana[6], etc., and then you come back to the internet or books to read about the spiritual realizations of others. You read all those pages and try to practice this or that, but in the end you return to your true reality – the every day misery of living with your own ego and fighting with the ego of others.
You, who recognize yourself in my description, imagine that you will become a Buddha! And to become a Buddha at the end of your life, you need nothing else than to entrust yourself completely to Amida!

When I heard for the first time about the promise of Amida, that ordinary people will become Buddhas, through simple faith in him, I was struck with wonder and couldn’t believe my eyes and ears, as if I had seen or heard someone from another planet.

Soon, after realizing this is true and not just a parable with esoteric and hidden meaning, I found myself saying: “What am I waiting for?” For the first time I felt that Buddhism was speaking to me, and not only to supermen. Since then, every time I recall to my mind the promise of Amida’s Primal Vow that everybody who entrusts in him and say his Name will become Buddha, and realize that I myself will become a Buddha, I feel there is no greater miracle.

Zuiken Sensei said:

Without being hindered by my evil karma,
I go to be born in the Pure Land
By entrusting myself to the Path of the Vow-Power,
This is the wonder of all wonders.”

“Without severing evil passions,
one will realize Nirvana’ (Shoshinge)
Isn’t this the most wonderful thing in the world?
This phrase makes us savor deep in our heart
the wonder of the Power of the Primal Vow.”



[1] Rennyo Shonin (1415-1499) was the eighth descendant of Shinran Shonin and Patriarch (Monshu) of Hongwanji, the mother temple in the Hongwanji-ha branch of Jodo Shinshu.
[2] A bombu is a being full of illusions and blind passions and who cannot attain Nirvana by his own power.
[3] According to the Jodo Shinshu teaching of Shinran and Rennyo, a person who entrusts in Amida enters in the same moment in the stage of non-retrogression or the stage of being assured of Nirvana, and becomes a Buddha in the moment of death, when he is born in the Pure Land.
[4] Rennyo Shonin Goichidaiki Kikigaki (Thus I Have Heard from Rennyo Shonin)
[5] Zen Buddhist meditation.
[6] Meditation in Theravada Buddhism.


ps: you might also want to read this:


5 comentarii:

Gerald Ford said...

Excellent quote by Rennyo. :)

It is easy to forget that we're all Buddhas, but we just don't know it due to blind passion and ignornace.

vincenzo said...

GOOD POST
even if at the first reading(at first i said... you seem talk to superiority of nembutsu of meditative practice)
good post in fact
can you do a post on the difference between jodo-shu and jodo-shinshu?(just an idea)i have got a beautiful sentence on it from a jodo priest but i will let you write
xD

Josho Adrian Cirlea said...

vincenzo - I'll try to wrote something about these differences. Until then, you can read an article written by Harold Stewart about Jodo Shinshu and Jodo Shu schools.
http://www.nembutsu.info/jotoshin.htm
You may find it useful.

Josho Adrian Cirlea said...

hi gerald!
We also tend to forget that merely saying "we are all Buddhas in our true nature" does not make us really become Buddhas.This is why we need Amida in order that we, "ordinary beings full of blind passions" become Buddhas. Many people like to speak a lot about Buddha nature and tend to forget their limits and blind passions, thus ending their lives without becoming a Buddha and no other real transformation.

Josho Adrian Cirlea said...

I have just posted an answer to the question of difference between Jodo Shu and Jodo Shinshu:
http://amida-ji-retreat-temple-romania.blogspot.com/2008/03/difference-between-jodo-shu-and-jodo.html